Faf du Plessis brushes aside tampering row, continues Adelaide love-affair
Faf du Plessis, who was accused of ball-tampering in the second Test in Hobart, brushed aside the controversy and stroked a magnificent hundred in the Pink Ball Test against Australia in Adelaidecricket Updated: Nov 24, 2016 16:35 IST
There is a special connection between Faf du Plessis and the Adelaide Oval. In 2012 against Australia, he made 78 and 110* as South Africa saved the Test match in thrilling fashion. It made du Plessis the player that he is. Tenacious, calm, gritty and determined. His efforts helped South Africa win the next Test in Perth and seal the series 1-0. (SCORECARD)
In 2016, ahead of the second Pink Ball Test in Adelaide, the situation was different for du Plessis. South Africa had completed a hat-trick of Test series wins in Australia with a thumping win in Hobart but it was soured by allegations that du Plessis, the current South Africa Test skipper, had tampered with the ball. The ICC fined him 100 percent of his match fee but he was allowed to play the Test.
Prior to the match, du Plessis insisted that the ICC had opened a “can of worms” with this allegation. “I feel like I’ve done nothing wrong... it’s not like I was trying to cheat or anything.”
However, this incident only served to fire up du Plessis’ determination as he brushed aside the controversy and led from the front to put in a great display on the opening day of the Day-Night Test in Adelaide.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, South Africa were in trouble at 44/3. Out walked the South Africa skipper and he was greeted by a round of boos from the Adelaide crowd. However, this did not affect him and du Plessis steadied the ship by playing with determined aggression.
He smashed Mitchell Starc for three boundaries in two overs. He made steady progress as he notched up his fifty but after getting to the landmark, he continued to target Starc. With the likes of Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird finding swing both in the air and off the wicket, du Plessis played the waiting game well.
He entered the 90s with a couple of boundaries off Hazlewood and he notched up his sixth Test century and second at Adelaide by paddle-sweeping Nathan Lyon to fine leg. There were no extravagant celebrations from du Plessis on reaching the milestone. He took off the helmet, raised his bat and soaked in the warm applause of the Adelaide crowd.
He continued to frustrate Australia as he shared a 39-run partnership with Tabraiz Shamsi as South Africa reached 259/9. In a stunning move, du Plessis showed his intent by declaring the innings, with the skipper ending on an unbeaten 118.
Following du Plessis’ bold declaration, Australia managed 14/0 at stumps on day one.
In the course of his knock, du Plessis continued his love-affair with Adelaide. Since the last 15 years, this venue has been a favourite among visiting batsmen. The likes of Virat Kohli, Kevin Pietersen and Virender Sehwag have flourished at this venue.
*Stats updated after end of day one between Australia and South Africa in Adelaide.
Heading into the Test, there were questions on du Plessis’ temparement. However, by playing a classy knock and showing bold captaincy with an attacking intent, Adelaide 2016 has witnessed the making of du Plessis the leader.
First Published: Nov 24, 2016 16:22 IST